Bulgarians mix their traditional cuisine with Greek, Italian, and French tastes to create dishes that are both hearty in a Balkan way and fresh in a more Mediterranean manner. If food is a key part of your travel experience, follow Culture Trip’s walking tour around some of the best places in Sofia
to try local and international food.
Breakfast at Mekitsa and Coffee
Bakery, Bulgarian, $$$
Mekitsa is a traditional deep-fried Bulgarian breakfast dish, winning back its popularity in recent years. For a bit of a modern touch, go to Mekitsa and Coffee (Мекица и кафе) where you can try the traditional mekitsa with non-traditional additions such as ham or peanut butter. If you want it the classical way – choose jam or white cheese. This is also the place to try kompot – a traditional stewed fruit conserved in jars for the winter days.
A sandwich at Ciccione Panini Bar & Bakery
Sandwich Shop, Cafe, Wine Bar, Mediterranean, Italian, $$$
Ciccione is a whiff of Italian style
in Sofia, already having three panini bars around Sofia. Their croissants are always freshly baked, the coffee is excellent, and the sandwiches are prepared with first-class Italian products. It’s worth it to come back in the evening, too, as it’s a popular place to order a bottle of wine accompanied by Italian bread, salads, cheese, and ham.
Lunch at Shtastlivetsa
Restaurant, Bulgarian, Mediterranean, European, $$$
Shtastlivetsa was first opened in the North Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo and turned out to be such a huge success that people from Sofia came to Veliko Tarnovo only to eat there. Now a branch of the restaurant is conveniently open in the center of Sofia
, so there’s no longer a need to drive 200 km (125 miles) for a portion of kyufteta
(grilled meatballs). Try Bulgarian salads such as Shopska (cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese) or the typical Bulgarian summer cold soup tarator
(yogurt, cucumbers, dill and garlic). They have a lunch menu, but you may need a reservation as it’s always busy.
Time for a cake at Co-Co Sweet and More
Bakery, Cafe, Tea Room, European, Bulgarian, $$$
Quench your sweet cravings with a cup of good coffee at Co-Co Sweet and More. It’s a place where they take good care when selecting products for their cakes and muffins. If you are into healthy eating, you will also find raw and vegan desserts.
Dinner at Mr. Pizza
Pizzaria, Italian, Bulgarian, European, $$$
Bulgarians love pizza (who doesn’t?), and there are many pizzerias that also serve Bulgarian traditional dishes. We recommend the pork with mushrooms and the innovative crunchy fried beans. Mr. Pizza is a chain of restaurants loved for their simple atmosphere and reasonable prices. This one is close to the main walking street which means that it’s close to go for a drink in a bar after dinner.
A drink at Memento
Bar, European, $$$
Memento is a nice bar to sip your evening cocktails and talk with friends until late, since it’s open long after midnight. It’s located in the building of the National Palace of Culture
, just right of its main entrance.